Cresco Joliet Cannabis Workers Vote YES for First Union Contract!
For Immediate Release
Joliet, IL – Workers at Cresco Labs in Joliet, one of the largest cannabis companies operating in Illinois, voted overwhelmingly to ratify the first Cannabis Union contract in Illinois on December 31, 2020. Over 180 workers at the Joliet cultivation center are represented by Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the Union for Cannabis Workers.
After many Zoom meetings throughout the pandemic, Cresco Joliet workers remained united in their desire and fight to make their Cannabis industry jobs real careers. After nearly a year of negotiations, the workers rejected Cresco’s first proposal presented in November. Returning to the table, negotiations resumed, and the Union was successful in negotiating wage increases, more paid leave, a higher 401k match, lower health insurance rates, an increased employee product discount, a robust grievance procedure, and stronger seniority protection language.
“I am incredibly proud of the Cresco Joliet Employees for showing unity in the face of adversity. It has been a long journey for this contract.” said Jessica Olson, Bargaining Committee member and Joliet Facility Coordinator. “I am excited that we now have a clear expectations, guaranteed raises, and procedures for our employees. This is the first cannabis contract in the state of Illinois, and I am honored to be a part of history.”
“Negotiating a first contract under normal conditions can be brutal, but the added challenges of a pandemic, makes this ratification even more impressive,” said Steven Powell, President, Local 881 UFCW. “We knew Cresco workers had the courage and determination to make this a reality. We are also aware that cannabis workers around the state have been watching how the Cresco Joliet workers have fought and organized for this Union contract. We know this will encourage other Cannabis workers to join the movement to improve this industry!”
Last January, Cresco Joliet employees made history by becoming the first Cannabis workers to win their Union election in Illinois and voted to join with the 34,000 other Local 881 members across the state. These workers continue to set positive precedents for the entire Illinois cannabis industry. The intent of the Illinois recreational legislation was clear; to have good, well-paying Union jobs in the industry. The Illinois cannabis industry produced over $1 Billion in record sales last year, and can afford to improve the wages, benefits and working condition for industry employees. With a Union contract Cannabis jobs can be family and community supporting careers with good wages, healthcare coverage, and dignity in the workplace. Local 881 is committed to ensuring that the cannabis industry lives up to the promises it made to the communities when it lobbied for their support for legalization.
For more information about the fight to improve the Cannabis industry in Illinois, visit: ILCannabisWorkersUnited.org